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RonRagusa
06-29-2011, 01:10 PM
Mary had us do an interesting Ki exercise last night. It goes as follows:

My partner and I face each other and he puts both hands on my shoulders. He then begins to push me backward. I accept his push and walk backward as he continues to push. At some point I stop and from natural stance, with him still pushing, begin to walk forward. When pushing I should maintain an even, continuous push throughout. It's not a contest, my aim is to use the appropriate amount of force to maximize the benefit of my partner.

Points for me to work on while practicing this exercise:

Connect with his center before contact is made and maintain that connection throughout the duration of the exercise (Keep One Point),
Keep my body erect, don't lean in from the shoulders (Correct Posture),
Slow down to a stop; this enables me to absorb the force of his push gradually instead of having to take it all on at once (Progressive Relaxation),
When starting to move forward be aware of the primary direction of the force of his push and connect with it at an angle as I begin to move forward. Not directly engaging his power allows me to move forward with relative ease (Positive Mind).With continued practice I will be able to:

Strengthen my connection with his center,
Improve my posture,
Shorten the time it takes to slow to a stop,
Improve my ability to ascertain the primary direction of the force of his push.


(Original blog post may be found here (http://ron-aikidothoughts.blogspot.com/2011/06/one-hundred-and-ninety-five.html).)

Mark Freeman
06-30-2011, 05:56 AM
Hi Ron,

I use this exercise almost exactly as you describe it.

Your first point to work on when practicing this exercise, namely making connection with uke's centre before contact is made, has now become one of my main mantras when teaching both ki development and aikido. Although it is something I have been told about by my own teacher since I began, it is only in the last few years that I have really appreciated what it means, how to do it and the effect it has on the whole interaction.

How do you attempt describing what you mean by it?

For me, it is a mental thing, my mind has to extend from my own one point into (and maybe beyond) the centre of uke. From this point on, I experience no separation as 2 have become 1.

Like me when I was learning this, my students struggle with the fact that the words are relatively simple to understand, and they can certainly feel the difference when I demonstrate it to them, however, the actual doing of it seems to present a challenge.

For me and where I am now, I believe that aikido is only aikido when this principle is present, everything else is a lead up to this.

Of course the physical structure has to be correct (centred, upright, balanced, relaxed etc), to have the desired effect when the physical contact is made.

I sometimes go one step further that the exercise you describe and have uke start moving from a distance, so they have some momentum when they make contact. This can be ramped up progressively, in the end you can end up with the chest bounce (or something similar) that Ueshiba and Shioda can be seen doing in some videos.

Sometimes, when my students are doing the exercise as you describe it, they get to a position of stalemate, where they have managed to slow uke down to a stop, however, they get stuck at this point and fail to move forward. If their hands are extended forward at all, I find that if I give them a gentle but insistent pulling feeling on their fingertips, they can get themselves moving, and once moving can keep going.

Do you guys come across this? and how do you go about getting round it?

regards

Mark

guest1234567
06-30-2011, 06:53 AM
We did this exercise too. Sometimes we do kind of that without moving in suwariwaza too. And last class with did the same but pushing from the back.

RonRagusa
06-30-2011, 07:34 PM
I use this exercise almost exactly as you describe it.

Your first point to work on when practicing this exercise, namely making connection with uke's centre before contact is made, has now become one of my main mantras when teaching both ki development and aikido. Although it is something I have been told about by my own teacher since I began, it is only in the last few years that I have really appreciated what it means, how to do it and the effect it has on the whole interaction.

How do you attempt describing what you mean by it?

Hi Mark -

Stand in natural stance and with both hands against your chest push yourself over. I'm guessing you didn't move. You have encountered your own center in a very simple connected way. Next, while still pushing on your chest walk forward. Notice that even though you are able to exert a lot of force pushing on your chest that walking is very easy and as natural as if you were holding your hands as your sides. When I develop correct feeling uke is no more able to push me than I am able to push myself; no more able to stop me from walking than I am able to stop myself from walking.

Sometimes, when my students are doing the exercise as you describe it, they get to a position of stalemate, where they have managed to slow uke down to a stop, however, they get stuck at this point and fail to move forward. If their hands are extended forward at all, I find that if I give them a gentle but insistent pulling feeling on their fingertips, they can get themselves moving, and once moving can keep going.

Do you guys come across this? and how do you go about getting round it?

We employ progressively increased pushing as students develop their power. When I push my partner I push her to just short of the point of failure and if she can maintain correct feeling, just a little beyond. If my partner resorts to using muscle, I'll back off a bit until she can reestablish correct feeling. I'll then ramp up to the failure point again, wait a moment, and then move slightly beyond. When pushed this way students are able to slowly deal with more and more force while maintaining correct feeling. The same methodology applies when she begins to walk me backward except in that case I employ progressively increased resistance.

Best,

Ron

RonRagusa
06-30-2011, 07:36 PM
And last class with did the same but pushing from the back.

Hi Carina -

Interesting variant, we'll have to give it a try.

Best,

Ron

graham christian
06-30-2011, 08:04 PM
Hi Ron. Here's a concept you might like.

When showing students the application of the awareness of eight directions I like showing for example that when someone is pushing you or indeed blocking you they are blocking a path. Thus you still have seven more paths you could follow so you may feel blocked or trapped but in truth it's not the case.

Then I show that you can even walk 'through' the block and thus the truth is there is ALWAYS eight directions.

Regards.G.

guest1234567
07-01-2011, 02:34 AM
Hi Ron,
My teacher was surprised as I told him yesterday about the nice description you made of the exercise. About the same in suwariwaza, we did it to push from the hips upwards, to get our hips stronger.
And maybe Mary and you would like this connection exercises we did yesterday evening
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU8h9lMtenk
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm3e0bTmHes

RonRagusa
07-01-2011, 10:42 PM
Hi Ron,
My teacher was surprised as I told him yesterday about the nice description you made of the exercise. About the same in suwariwaza, we did it to push from the hips upwards, to get our hips stronger.
And maybe Mary and you would like this connection exercises we did yesterday evening
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU8h9lMtenk
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm3e0bTmHes

Hi Carina -

Thanks for the video links. We have done exercises similar to those from time to time. What did your teacher find surprising? I'm curious.

Best,

Ron

guest1234567
07-02-2011, 03:26 AM
Hi Ron,
You see my teacher is not a writer, he teaches aikido as an hobby, because he is an aikidoka from the heart, he works by his own repairing things or painting or as a bricklayer.
So when I told him about the long description of this exercise, he thought that he could write a book with all the exercises we do in every class. He always find something new, I only send you 2 links, but we did 8 different exercises with the ball and he showed us by them our own anxiety to get or lose the ball depending what the ball was, in one exercise the ball contained all negative things we carry with us.So he teaches us not only to be aware of our center, mantaining connection always with uke, be relaxed and calm, to be in a good physical shape and more things, but he is kind of a psychologist.
I'm very happy because today we have an aikido course with him the whole day:)
I wish you and Mary a nice weekend.
Best
Carina

graham christian
07-03-2011, 04:13 PM
Hi Carina.
Your teacher sounds just like my friend who teaches with me both in character and attitude. A great guy.

He's always coming up with such things which everyone has fun with and yet it always leads to a better reality of something to do with a principle or self. Once he told me how he was giving a talk on Aikido to an audience and used balloons to describe certain points a bit like you showed and had them joining in.

I also remember a funny time when he turned up to class with a load of little leather pouches to tie around your waist. He told me what they were for so we proceeded to have fun.

All the class had to put them on and then we produced marbles and they all had to put a marble in their pouch. This was to give them something solid representing one point and from then on that lesson they were to treat it as such. It was great and realities on one point were increased, job done. We also did exercises of holding them etc. All good fun.

Regards.G.

guest1234567
07-03-2011, 04:33 PM
Hi Graham,
Yes the classes are always different and with great fun. Yesterday in the course it was very hot, aprox 35, so in the morning we did the techniques as much relaxed as we could and after lunch he said, that it would be softer, but we had a lot of kokyunages;) And this excercise to get confidence in our collegues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFVE0BY6B60
and at the end a nice massage on the neck:)

graham christian
07-03-2011, 04:39 PM
Ha, ha. A nice exercise in faith to finish off. Love it.

Regards.G.